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Irish Businesses Remain Committed to Climate Change

By Maev Martin
Irish Businesses Remain Committed to Climate Change

SSE Airtricity has today published findings from its Green Business Sentiment Index series. The research, carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of SSE Airtricity, highlights and measures the progression of attitudes among businesses towards renewable energy and green recovery over the past 10 months. A significant majority, some 71%, say sustainability and climate change have an impact on decision making when it comes to purchasing and partnerships, while the vast majority of businesses (85%) consider themselves to be environmentally friendly.

This is the second national report, following the first instalment in July 2020, commissioned by Ireland’s largest provider of 100% green energy [1]. The research has been undertaken to gain a better understanding of, and demonstrate, the sentiment among Irish businesses when it comes to sustainability and green practices. It has been carried out against the background of Covid-19, with a focus on COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will be held in Glasgow this coming November. 

With positive progress in some areas over the past 10 months, there is still some way to go for businesses to see the benefits of renewable energy as 47% of businesses are still unaware if their energy is renewable or not, unchanged from July 2020. 30% claim to use renewable energy, an 8-percentage point improvement on July 2020.

Some of the other key findings from the research (with percentage point comparison to the July 2020 report):

83% still consider the issue of climate change to be important while in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic (up 10 points from July 2020)
30% claim to avail of renewable energy (up 8 points from the July 2020)
38% have incorporated retrofitting into their premises (unchanged from July 2020)
At least 23% claim to be not using renewable energy (down 6 points from July 2020)
78% of businesses feel that 100% green energy would have an influence on their energy purchasing decision (unchanged from July 2020)
42% believe that being a greener business attracts more customers (up 5 points from July 2020)
31% don’t know what retro-fitting is (up 4 points from July 2020)
78% of businesses feel Government supports would help influence them in considering retro-fitting (unchanged from July 2020)
67% of businesses are aware of the Government’s 2030 target for a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
Just one in four businesses aware of that target are confident that the target can be achieved


 Workplace Practices 

Workplace practices are largely aligned to a more sustainable future, with a continued focus by many businesses on incorporating environmentally sustainable practices into their operations. Additional positive practices include:

35% have a cycle to work policy (up 5 points from July 2020)
68% of companies use keep cups and reusable packaging (down 5 points from July 2020)
38% have incorporated retrofitting into their premises (unchanged from July 2020)
20% have a car-pooling policy (down 5 points from July 2020)
14% have incorporated electric vehicles into their company (up 3 points from July 2020)

 It has to be noted that while these practices will have been impacted by Covid-19, the continued focus on sustainable practices supports findings that businesses remain committed to climate change and a green future.

Obstacles to Green Practices

Businesses see the cost of introducing sustainable measures an issue, with 47% claiming (unchanged from July 2020) cost as the main hurdle in reducing their carbon footprint. 15% don’t have enough information on methods of decarbonisation and currently one in three businesses in Ireland (up 4 percentage points from July 2020) don’t know what retro-fitting is.


The Road to Net Zero

While sentiment towards green energy and climate change is improving, and businesses are largely on board with sustainability practices, findings demonstrate a lack of confidence when it comes to Ireland’s net zero ambitions. Almost seven in ten (67%) businesses are aware of the Government’s 2030 target for a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as Ireland towards climate neutrality in 2050. However, when asked, just one in four (25%) of those businesses aware of the 2030 target, were confident that the target could be achieved. Equally worrying, just five months out from the UN’s Climate Change Conference, almost two thirds (57%) of Irish businesses have not heard of COP26. The November gathering of global leaders will work to find the best solution to climate change as the world moves towards a net zero future.

© 2021 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Maev Martin. For more Retail news click here. Click sign up to subscribe to Checkout

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